Over the roar of the crowd you could hear the whistle.
In the closing seconds of Sunday’s Elite Eight game between the San Diego State Aztecs and the Creighton Bluejays, senior SDSU guard Darrion Trammell had the game in his hands. The score was tied at 56, and Trammell turned the corner at the top of the key in the final seconds, He lofted a shot with his right hand from the middle of the key, which clanged short off the iron.
But the whistle blew.
The whistle blew for a foul on Creighton’s Ryan Nembhard, whose left hand was on the right hip of Trammell as he let his shot go. The foul sent the senior guard to the line who hit the second of his two shots to give the Aztecs a one-point lead.
They would ultimately win by that point, 57-56.
Was it a foul, or perhaps more accurately, was it a foul that should have been called at that point in the game? You be the judge:
As you can see, the referee who made the call did a good job at getting himself into position to see the play. Here is a look at the view he had at the moment of truth:
After the game, the CBS studio crew seemed to be of mixed mind regarding the call. Gene Steratore made the case that the left hand of Nembhard, which you can see on Trammell’s hip, impacts the shot. Charles Barkley, however, made the case that in that situation, the referees should have swallowed their whistles, and let them play. Barkley also made the case that Trammell’s shot was likely short regardless of Nembhard’s hand on his hip.
Ultimately, the consensus opinion seemed to be that it was a foul, but that in that situation, perhaps the referees should have let the play stand.
Similar to the ending of Super Bowl LVII.
One thing we can be sure of, this is likely going to be a topic of discussion for at least this week, if not beyond.